A happy Friday the Thirteenth to everybody! I'll just go 'round the horn with a few things that make me more afraid than I might otherwise be.
Hey, how about those wild and crazy Iranian mullahs, planning an upgrade of their missiles with an 800 mile range (long enough to hit Israel). "No nuclear warheads are being developed", say the Mullahs-- the missiles are designed to deter Israel from taking out Iran's nuclear programs. I smell... regional balance of terror. I have said many times that Israel always regarded Iran as an infinitely more troubling existential threat than Iraq, but went along with Junior's plans in Iraq because it was at no cost to Israel. Israel has few options with Iran; it may well have to launch a strike (as it once did against Iraq) to stop the Iranian nuclear program-- although the cost would be staggering.
[The United States, by contrast, can be very creative: we can offer to match whatever Iran pays Russia to develop Iran's nuclear program NOT to develop it (and do more or less the same thing to Pakistan and North Korea), and buy out Iran's nuclear infrastructure while we're at it (and replace it with our latest wind and solar technologies!). With North Korea, we can add a threat suggested by the veep, and back it up with an explicit threat to liquidate the DPRK's leadership from Dear Leader on down if they cross us. All of this could be done
at a fraction of the cost of our massive dinosaur military, which we have already demonstrated is of scant value in protecting our populace against the real threats of the day, from stateless maniacs launching limited strikes.]
I'm not really hopeful.
Next, we go to Najaf, where, although Muqtada al-"Baby" Sadr is evidently wounded, we go back to our usual strategy of "negotiating a cease fire". Let me be clear here: we keep doing this. Attack, pull back, negotiate. Attack, pull back, negotiate. The people in Najaf would rather Sadr left, but I'm sure over in the Sadr City section of Baghdad and other Shia locales, Sadr is the most popular man around. Problems: 81 days until the American election, and more significantly, 160 or so days until regime change in Washington, and someone who doesn't have his head up his ass is President. Since I anticipate nothing significant, over 5 months of this cat and mouse game will almost certainly result in heavy damage to the Imam Ali Mosque-- which might well do more propaganda damage to us than if we simply dropped nuclear weapons on Baghdad and Fallujah. At least I understand that the Iraqi negotiators are talking about letting Sadr run in the "free and fair" elections which may (or, more likely, may not) take place "by" January 31st.
I suggest we do something creative in Iraq. Plain old power politics: Baby Sadr has the most effective fighting force in Iraq next to the Americans-- figure out a way to get him inside the tent pissing out-- as they used to say on Ally McBeal: bygones. And ditto bringing in regional players-- and I do mean Iran and Syria and Turkey and Jordan and I most definitely do not under any circumstances mean Saudi Arabia-- for a regional security arrangement, including quite possibly post-war Germany-style demarcated spheres of influence. Am I happy it has come to this? No. But the reality is, we only fantasize that we have the firepower to remain hostile to everyone: we do not. Private Iraqi insurgents have played us to a draw (and this isn't Vietnam, where insurgents were backed by not only an organized nation-state, but by hostile super-powers). Just imagine what a well-organized, fuully equipped Iranian military would do to us? I assure you-- the deluded White House has not imagined it.
Hey look: Bush is now reduced to defending his (in)actions on 9-11-01, saying "its easy to second guess". Well, duh. When you're reaction is to behave like a wounded and insulted child, and listen to a story of a goat as thousands of your countrymen are burning to death and you may be the one man with the authority to take decisive action that may at least have saved some of them, I would say, yeah-- it IS easy to second guess, isn't it? And while we're at it, forget the seven minutes: no one is harping on his all day wing ding joy ride-- when the President was only minutes away from Central Command H.Q., where he could have at least attempted to manage a coordinated response and national defense. But yeah-- I guess its just too darned easy to second guess when a coke-fiend frat boy deserter decides to turn tail and hide, isn't it. What makes me afraid is that there are Americans who are not reacting exactly as I am. That there are tens of millions of them frightens me no end. Fortunately, I think the overwhelming majority of Americans kind of gets this, though admittedly they may be badly distributed for Electoral College purposes.
And finally, while the Unseen Editor wanted me to blast Wonkette and other liberal fellow travelers for rushing to the defense of resigning N.J. Gov. McGreevey because "the conservatives will be all over him for the gay thing", I see that today, Wonkette has acknowledged that "its too bad about that corruption thing." Well, yeah, it is. See its the Dark Side that will, in the interest of short term political gain, forgive their man's trespasses (which so far have included drunk driving, cocaine abuse, doing business with the bin Laden family, using family power to avoid military service and get an Air National Guard slot and then going AWOL and/or deserting from it, and since taking office, dereliction of duty resulting in being totally unprepared for a terrorist assault on our capital and financial center, lying to the nation to set up the preconditions for a personally motivated war, authorizing and/or ordering the commission of war crimes, numerous constitutional violations, and outing covert operatives, i.e. treason for political gain). We're better than them, because if our guys trespass, as far as I'm concerned, they lose our support--
a mistake we should probably have learned after Clinton (see "Al Gore"). Because decent and just ends don't mean much if not pursued and acquired by decent and just means (I realize I may be alone on that).
Anyway, kudos to Wonkette for realizing that, while McGreevey may have given an uplifting speech, if he is indeed going to be embroiled in a corruption scandal for ethical lapses, he does not deserve our support-- regardless of the "D" after his name.
Actually, the last thing makes me just a little more optimistic. Happy Fri. 13th everybody!!!
UPDATE: I am saddened to report the passing of Julia Child, on this particular Friday the 13th.
I did not have sex with that man. And please no subpoenas for my satin sheets.
Posted by Citizen Jim McGreevey at August 13, 2004 02:48 PM
Hm. Seemingly McGreevy is using gayness as an extenuating circumstance, making up for all his other creepy shit. Sort of like a Christian grafter hiding behind the Bible. Progress indeed.
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